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  Discrete Dislocation Plasticity Modelling of Particle-Reinforced Metals For Green Aerospace and Nuclear Applications

   Department of Engineering

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  Dr Christos Skamniotis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

New aerospace and nuclear technologies, i.e., hydrogen jet engines, nuclear fusion/fission reactors, expose materials to extreme thermomechanical loads. These loads exceed the current safety limits and are almost impossible to replicate experimentally. Metal alloys, our most versatile and tough materials, raise great potential for surviving extreme loads. However, current failure assessment of engineering components remains largely phenomenological and often unreliable since we fall behind in understanding fundamental deformation-damage mechanisms.

This project will develop and utilise advanced computational Discrete Dislocation Plasticity (DDP) models to uncover micromechanical deformation-damage processes operating during cyclic thermomechanical loading of key engineering alloys, e.g., Zirconium[1], Nickel[2]. We will explore embrittlement and/or fatigue-related damage accumulation mechanisms driven by the interplay between internal misfit stresses associated with second phase particles, dislocation-particle interactions as well as external thermomechanical stresses encountered in the material during aerospace and/or nuclear environment. We aim at addressing computational bottlenecks that hinder the use of DDP modelling by the wider community, i.e. DDP code efficiency, usability, versatility. This project can play instrumental role in assisting material scientists, engineers and manufacturers rationalise experimental results, explore the alloy parameter space to improve material performance and develop accurate Crystal Plasticity Finite Element models for component-scale design and failure assessment.

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree 2:1 in one of the following subject areas: mechanical engineering, computer science, materials science and/or metallurgy, physics, mathematics. Applicants with strong programming skills are especially encouraged to apply.

During the initial stages of the PhD program the successful candidate will familiarise with advanced mechanics theory (elasticity/plasticity), metallurgy, dislocation theory, as well as elastic theory of defects, under the guidance of Dr Christos Skamniotis. Thereafter, the student is expected to grow proficient programming skills (Matlab and/or C++) to successfully review and extend existing computer codes of high complexity/size; relevant training will be available through the e-Research team at King’s College London and the supervisor. The student will also enjoy the opportunity to collaborate on complementary/overlapping projects with world-leading groups at Imperial College London to exchange expertise and co-author publications.

This post offers a valuable opportunity for the student to grow skills in allied areas of key importance to the academic and industrial research and development related to the current/future computational solid mechanics and materials science fields.


Application Procedure:

To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system. Details are available at:

Please apply for Engineering Research (MPhil/PhD) and indicate your desired supervisor [Dr Christos Skamniotis], the project title and reference EPSRCNISkamniotis in your application and all correspondence.

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

Applicants should submit:

i) The required qualification documents (They will either have, or be working towards, a masters degree or equivalent in a relevant field of Engineering).

ii) A cover letter outlining and demonstrating how their qualifications, experience, and interests make them suitable to pursue the research outlined above, including possible ideas for how they might focus the work on particular questions;

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Christos Skamniotis - [Email Address Removed]

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Mathematics (25) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Funding is available for 3.5 years and covers tuition fees for international students (£30,240 per year) and a tax-free stipend of approximately £21,237 p.a. with possible inflationary increases after the first year.


-[1] Skamniotis et al. On the Interaction of Grain-scale and Hydride-scale Stresses in Hydrogen Enriched Zirconium Alloy Nuclear Cladding via combined Discrete Dislocation Plasticity and Crystal Plasticity Finite Element modelling. Mechanics of Materials. 2024 May 14:105033.
-[2] Shishvan SS, McMeeking RM, Pollock TM, Deshpande VS. Discrete dislocation plasticity analysis of the high-temperature cyclic response of composites. Materials Science and Engineering: A. 2018 Jan 17;712:714-9.